SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – NBC 6 is working to promote racial understanding through our “Voices of Courage” series. As we celebrate Veterans Day, we take time to remember the additional sacrifices African-American soldiers made, as they fought for the country they loved while facing discrimination.

Ken Epperson followed in his father’s footsteps when he enlisted in the military in 1965. “I raised my hand to pledge my life and defend this nation when I couldn’t sleep in the same hotel with the white soldiers. I couldn’t eat in the same restaurant. Everywhere we weren’t accepted you know because of our color,” said Epperson.

Epperson has dedicated his life to honoring local veterans and leads the Veterans Celebration Committee which sponsors the annual Veterans Day Parade and Honor Ceremony at the State Fair of Louisiana.

He says his experiences with racism never deterred him from doing what’s best for the country or his community.

“That does not make me waiver from being a patriotic and proud American. I ask all of my sons and all of my friends to do the same thing… just participate in the system. Go to public meetings. Go to political meetings. Get in the political process. Change the system from within through policy.”

He has spent a career in local politics and currently serves on the Caddo Parish Commission. His children are also veterans.